5 reasons why this teacher loves working in an international school

5 reasons why this teacher loves working in an international school

Currently teaching year 4 classes at Doha College - Straight to Teaching Alumnus Will Lyons shares his experience of the international school system and how he built up his experience in China and Qatar to gain not only a PGCE but also QTS.


I have taught overseas for the duration of my teaching career, starting out by undertaking a TEFL course before moving to China in 2012. My decision to go abroad was influenced by the prospect of quick progression, as opposed to needing formal qualifications to teach in my home country of Northern Ireland. I began my teaching in an English Language centre gaining valuable first-hand experience across a range of ages from 3-18 and after only 4 months of teaching, an opportunity arose for an English teacher in a Kindergarten in the district where I lived. I applied, interviewed and was offered the position in a whirlwind few days!


The Kindergarten was affiliated with a number of international schools who were prepared to accommodate teachers to teach full time and undertake a PGCE in order to gain the formal qualification needed. During the year spent working here as an English teacher I had much more responsibility than the English Language centre as the classes were my own, and I got to build much richer relationships with the children and their parents. There was also a lot more accountability for my teaching which was extremely valuable.

Will teaching a year four class at Doha College 

Enthusiastic pupils

The next two years I spent at Shanghai United International School, discovering an appetite for learning that children in the international school system possess. Parent-teacher communication is high but ultimately rewarding as the established relationships really help develop the child’s education.


In my experience, international schools have a real sense of diversity, especially in China where teachers came from all over the world bringing with them a range of different pedagogical styles. At my school teachers were highly valued and allowed to have a strong voice, as the school was very keen to gain ideas that would innovate and move the education system forward.

Challenging and Rewarding  

Having taught in China I really wanted to gain experience of teaching in a COBIS school and Doha College is pretty much the pinnacle! Teaching here has been a magnificent experience- and has provided me with the most challenging and rewarding years of my teaching career thus far. These kinds of schools are willing to implement new ideas and innovations into the school environment. There is quite a heavy workload but it only serves to leave me ready, comfortable and experienced for any type of situation, which I would encounter no matter where I'm teaching. 

If you’re interested in teaching abroad, find out which qualification you need here.